Spy planes return to Vavuniya skies

[TamilNet, Thursday, 09 May 2002, 00:18 GMT]
Flights over Vavuniya by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF)caused surprise amongst residents this week, Tamil press reports said. The small reconnaissance drones were last seen in the area during the height of bitter fighting in the Vanni between Sri Lankan forces and the Liberation Tigers.

A SLAF drone conducted two sorties over Vavuniya on Tuesday at 9am and an hour later, the Tamil language Virakesari reported.

The SLAF used up to half a dozen Israeli built drones extensively during major military offensives in the Vanni region in the late ninties. Almost all were lost either through LTTE ground fire or accidents, Sri Lankan press reports said at the time. Built by Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI), the planes were said to cost half a million dollars each.

Drones - also called Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPV) - are controlled from the ground from a command room with television sets. The aircraft carry onboard computers and cameras and transmit high resolution pictures back to the command room.

 

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